Carl Crawford expected back

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Bobby Valentine acted like he was the last to know, but after Sunday's 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox manager confirmed what Carl Crawford has been telling the world for days: He will be rejoining the Red Sox on Monday night.

"Just got the word from Carl," Valentine said, glancing at his cellphone. "Carl says he'll be there tomorrow."

After an absence of what will be 89 games, Crawford told reporters in Pawtucket he is coming back not for another exam, but to play. In a rehabilitation assignment that spanned 11 games, the first five in the Gulf Coast League and the last six with Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, Crawford batted .306 (11 for 36) with an on-base percentage of .432. He had two extra-base hits, a double and a triple, and stole two bases.

Crawford underwent wrist surgery in January, then sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow during spring training.

Valentine was asked if he thought unreasonable expectations might accompany Crawford's return.

"I'm not expecting any immediate impact," Valentine said. "I expect one of nine, a guy who can go out there and be a contributor. I haven't been around Carl in a game situation. I hope what he needs is provided him, his surroundings. I hope he's healthy. If he's healthy, he'll do fine."

Crawford has said he'll "probably" need Tommy John surgery on his elbow at some point, and weighed getting the surgery sooner rather than later.

Asked whether he feared the possibility of Crawford blowing out his elbow making a throw, Valentine said: "That's nerve-wracking, but I don't know that's necessarily the case. I've heard a lot of opinions on that."